Need help with my Zune

My wife won a Zune 120 GB Digital Media Player tonight and I’m looking for some tips and advice on how to get the most out of it. I downloaded a DVD conversion tool from Cucusoft and attempted to burn a DVD to WMA format. This worked (aside from an annoying Trial Version pasted smack in the middle of the screen) but it’s only utilizing a small portion of the screen when I upload it to the Zune. I think I selected Windows Media v9 format when I did the conversion…so obviously this was the wrong thing to do. It took hours however so I’m looking for some advice on what tools to use and what format will get the best out of this thing.

Also, any links to games or other cool things I can put on this would be greatly appreciated. I’ve never messed with one of these things before (I have an iPod Nano and a phone…that’s the extent of my gadget collection atm. I figure I do this stuff for a living, last thing I want to do is mess with technology aside from games on MY time :))…so any tips would also be appreciated. Took me 15 minutes to figure out how to put the freaking video on the Zune from my computer (probably would have helped if I had RTFM…but who has time for that?).


Your video converter should allow you to choose your final resolution and it should be 320x240. Everywhere I’ve seen recommends using the MP4 format, not WMV. I don’t think you have a Zune problem, you have a video converter problem.

You are most likely right. The converter I downloaded had multiple listings for a Zune…so I basically just chose one at random. I’ll see about trying out a different setting tomorrow. Need to get a better converter anyway as the one I’m using puts a water mark on the screen unless you pay for the full version. I’m not sure if this is the best tool so before I pay for it I’ll have to do some research on what most folks are using.


I recommend Handbrake as a free video converter. It does not have a Zune preset but it’s very customizable. Like Omni said the key is getting the resolution correct. Try just ripping a chapter off a dvd first so you don’t spend a couple hours ripping a full length dvd only to find it doesn’t fit your screen

I have a zune and simply by putting a video in a folder it monitors, the zune software will automatically re-encode for viewing on the device.

This might not work for certain codecs though, in which case I would re-encode them to wma (same aspect ratio of the zune however).

I use DVD Catalyst Free to rip DVD’s to the Zune. I haven’t had any problems with it except that it doesn’t see anything shorter than thirteen minutes (IIRC). That way, it always finds the movie and not all the extra junk. However, it wouldn’t rip a DVD of our marching band, since it was only eight-ish minutes.

Have the software deposit the ripped file into a monitored folder. That will get it on the Zune no problem.

I’ll try that. I tried moving the file to the monitored folder last night but it didn’t seem to be able to find it. I ended up having to go into the settings and go to manual add, then select Other in order to finally find the thing and put it on the Zune…and like I said, it was definitely not using the full screen. Going to try doing just a chapter tonight and see how that looks before doing another full DvD…should have thought of that myself last night, though I will use alcohol as my excuse.

Thanks for the comments and the tips guys…appreciated.


If you loaded it into the Zune software by dragging it, then Zune thinks it is wherever you originally left it. If you then moved it to a monitored folder, it will never think to find it there.

Since you are unhappy with the video anyway, I would suggest deleting it and starting over. Within the Zune software, right click on the video and choose delete. In the popup, choose “Remove from collection and delete file”. That should take it off the computer altogether.

Now, check to see where your Zune is looking for videos. I have mine in the C:user/videos folder. In your ripping software, choose that folder as the destination for your new file. Close the Zune software. Rip the movie, chapter, or whatever, to that file. (As I said, Catalyst works great for me. I’ve tried other software and almost bought Magic DVD Ripper, but Catalyst has been nearly perfect. Very easy to set up, too.) After the DVD has ripped, open the Zune software and give it a moment. It should find the new video all by itself. It will see “Media found” at the bottom and the new video will show up in the video folder. You can right click it and give it a name, type, and other meta-data to go with it.

I have a Zune 30 and wish I had a Zune 120.

Ok…so I took your advice and loaded DVD Catalyst Free. I used the Zune 4/8/80 setting at 320x240. I didn’t burn the whole movie this time, just some scenes. While the water mark is gone the picture is exactly the same. It’s only using the middle third of the screen for the movie still. I’m guessing this may have something to do with the movie, though I tried two others with the same results.

Any other suggestions?


I don’t have DVD Catalyst on my work computer, so I can’t check my settings right now. However, is the movie you’re ripping in a widescreen format? That will cause “letterboxing” bars on your Zune. Try ripping a video that is in 4:3 format and see if that fills the whole screen.

Nope, not in a wide screen format (that was the first thing I thought of). I’ll try as you say. Going to load the software you recommend on my laptop and see if I can get it working today.

Thanks for the help btw…appreciated.


Well, I’m home now and am able to check out my version of DVD Catalyst. Not a lot of settings in there that can be changed. Maybe try ripping using the Zune 30 setting. That works perfectly to me, but I actually have a Zune 30.

By the way, some other programs I’ve found very useful are Free ZuneConverter for converting flash videos to Zune compatible wmv and Quick Media Converter for converting other kinds of files to wmv. It can also rip the audio from a DVD file to an mp3. Pretty cool and both are free.